Our small trial session was successful. It was not problem-free, but that was the point—to reveal any aspects that needed attention, such as operation of the stairlift, placing of tables and storage cupboards etc. We followed the session with a committee meeting, and the details of how we intend to restart are becoming clearer.
Subject to approval (or amendment) at the next committee meeting on 19 August, and other caveats regarding Covid and the Government, the likely way forward is as follows:
Health and Safety
We will require all members attending sessions to have had both vaccinations against Covid, to not be under a duty of self-isolation and to be feeling healthy and symptom-free on the day. The wearing of masks will be optional but encouraged. It is now clear that Covid transmission is mainly through the air rather than by touch, so in addition to the two built-in extractor fans, a portable fan and leaving the external door open, we have decided to purchase a pair of air sanitiser units, which use UV light to kill germs. Hand hygiene is important and hand sanitiser will be provided for use. The use of cards, boards and bidding boxes will be as normal.
Timing and Sessions
We hope to restart our programme of five weekly sessions in full from early September, but will begin with two or three further trial sessions—free, open to all, but with advance booking required so we can plan for numbers, which we may need to limit to avoid overcrowding. There may be still be refinements needed before things run smoothly. Information will be put on this website about the Pianola partner finder facility for anyone who may be in need of a partner when our regular sessions begin.
The main bar upstairs will be open during evening sessions. Teas/coffees will be served at some point during afternoon sessions. A small honesty bar (fridge) of cold drinks will be available in the playing room.
We have decided to increase the table money from £4 to £5 per session for several reasons. The last time it was increased was in October 2011. We have invested in new tables, chairs and storage (and AIR units to come) and paid a monthly sum to the RAFA Club during the shutdown. But a key reason is cash: the use of cash has decreased a lot recently and fewer people carry much change, so we have considered alternatives such as card machines, vouchers, etc, but cash is still easiest. However, the biggest problem is removed if we deal just in notes, not coins. We will retain the discount for frequent players (previously £2 for a third session in a week): payment for two sessions (£10) will now allow unlimited play in that week.
This is an unfortunate area of complication in our otherwise beneficial arrangement with the RAFA Club. In a nutshell, to use the facilities of the RAFA Club, as all members will, one has to be a member of it; and to join the Bristol RAFA Club one must also be a member of the national RAF Association. So how will this work? The total annual cost will be £30. All members will have to join the RAF Association individually and directly at a cost of £13 (declining their magazine)—we will provide the forms and they are expecting this influx. The remaining £17 will then provide membership of both the RAFA Club and the bridge club. Further details have still to be resolved because the organisations have different membership years, we are partway through a year and about two-thirds of you have paid £20 for the year we were closed, which will be credited. Anyone unsure about renewing will be able to attend up to four sessions per year as a guest (paying only table money), so you can ‘test the water’ before committing to anything.